Sunday, August 20, 2017


A peculiar malady has been afflicting my family, but we had no name for it until today. The symptoms:  an unbridled desire to immediately view the movies we have received from Netflix and have them back to the post office before the day is done. We cannot bear to keep a movie overnight or to even wait to put it in our mailbox for the mail carrier to take the following day. There is no need for this precipitancy as there is no penalty for late returns; we could keep the movies for days, weeks, or months, but we are caught up by an overwhelming urgency.

We average watching 16 movies a month.

Bless the The URBAN DICTIONARY: just having a name for our ailment has caused a lessening of the anxiety associated with the affliction.

It's called NETAFLIXIA.

NETAFLIXIA: a self-diagnosed non-medical term to describe people who are addicted to the Netflix video streaming service or DVD movies.

Patient A was diagnosed by his friends to have a severe case of Netaflixia, in which he is unable to avoid use of the service, and may behave violently towards himself and/or others if the services continue to go unused for a long period of time. (normally one week)

Patient B was diagnosed by family members to have a severe case of Netaflixia, in which movies had to be viewed immediately and returned to the post office the same calendar day.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


With all of the excitement generated by the anticipated eclipse, I was reminded of the excitement about the comet Kohoutek.  See my article from Sue's News, published in 2010:


In December, 1973, when the Comet Kohoutek was visible in our sky, Gerald was excited. He even bought tee-shirts with "Kohoutek" emblazoned with rhinestones portraying a comet. 

I had given Gerald a telescope for his birthday the previous June. Gerald had read that Kohoutek would be at its perihelion on December 28 in the early morning hours. He was on Christmas shutdown and I had taken the week as vacation. He took the top off the Scout and loaded the telescope and a chair into the back of the Scout and we drove into the country where the view would be better. I was dressed for bed in my nightgown and robe, but I cradled the telescope to keep it steady, as we drove outside of town. I looked at the comet but soon lost interest and I fell asleep on the floor of the Scout. I had taken blankets and a pillow and although it was a rather mild winter night, it was still cold. Gerald was sitting, glued to the telescope, and I awoke to the sight of flashing lights. Startled, I bolted upright, only to see a Sheriff's deputy approaching the Scout. He asked what we were doing and Gerald invited him to look at the comet. The deputy hopped into the Scout and looked at the comet. He commented about my bedclothes and said that he thought we were a couple "making out". I asked, "In a flannel nightgown?" He laughed and said that we were crazy.

Kohoutek was known as the "comet of the century", but overall, Kohoutek's display was considered a "cosmic letdown" which led to its nickname "Comet Watergate". Because Kohoutek was to most, a disappointment, its name became synonymous with duds.  Even though it failed to brighten to expected levels, it was still a delight to Gerald as it was the first comet he saw after receiving his telescope.

We still have a collection of Kohoutek memorabilia. Along with the tee-shirts, we have several albums by different artists celebrating the comet. On Journey's debut album was an instrumental entitled Kohoutek; on R.E.M.'s album Fables Of The Reconstruction was their tribute Kohoutek;  Yahowha 13's first album was named Kohoutek; Argent's album Nexus had three songs inspired by Kohoutek: The Coming Of Kohoutek, Once Around The Sun, and Bill Carroll had an album entitled Kohoutek; on the album Don Solaris by the English group 808 State is an instrumental titled Kohoutek; a bootleg album by Pink Floyd is titled In Celebration Of The Comet--The Coming Of Kohoutek", and finally, Burl Ives recorded a single called The Trail Of The Comet Kohoutek.

Friday, August 18, 2017


After telling Mona Lisa about yesterday's article about the wonders of baking soda, she sent the following suggestions:

Did you know that drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional "pain relievers"?

Did you know that Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns?

Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose.

Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture set for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.

Sore throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly even though the product was never been advertised for this use.

Honey remedy for skin blemishes: cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing; works overnight.

Listerine therapy for toenail fungus: get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.

Easy eyeglass protection: to prevent the screws in eyeglasses from loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear nail polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.

Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer: if menacing bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly.

Smart splinter remover: just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue-All over the splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue.

Hunt's tomato paste boil cure: cover the boil with Hunt's tomato paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.

Balm for broken blisters: to disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine which is a powerful antiseptic.

Vinegar to heal bruises: soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Kills fleas instantly: Dawn dish washing liquid does the trick. Add a few drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations; good-bye fleas.

Rainy day cure for dog odor: the next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.

Eliminate ear mites: all it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear; massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.

Quaker Oats for fast pain relief: it's not just for breakfast any more! Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and then apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.


Thursday, August 17, 2017


At the Bloomingburg Community Day celebration, there was a group of Girl Scouts set up close to my table.  I had an enjoyable time discussing recipes where I used Girl Scout cookies and told of activities I helped with when my sister-in-law was a Leader. The Leader asked if I would consider helping with their Troop.

Later, one of the girls suffered a bee sting.  I had a cooler with Coke and ice.  I said, "Here, pour the Coke on it;  it's cold and will help the pain."  The child was screaming in pain and the mother obviously did not care for my suggestion.  I said, "Go to the store and get some baking soda and a bottle of water;  that's what my mother always used."  After mixing the baking soda in a capful of water and applying it, the child quit crying.

I suggested they should have a "badge" for testing home remedies and to start with the wonders of baking soda.  I mentioned uses such as teeth whitening, refrigerator deodorant, heartburn relief, sunburn remedy, hand cleanser, and chafing relief..

On the internet, I found 60 USES!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


After writing yesterday's article about the face of hate, I was reminded about David Margolick's excellent book Elizabeth And Hazel:  Two Women Of Little Rock.   The book details the lives of Elizabeth Eckford, one of "The Little Rock Nine", who integrated  Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Hazel Bryan, the fifteen-year-old schoolgirl shown in the famous photograph as she was spewing racial epithets at Elizabeth.

An acquaintance of mine, who is 90 years old, grew up in McGhee, Arkansas. He likes to discuss history and politics with me. He was planning a trip to visit his brother who lives in Little Rock. When I said that I would like to go there, he was surprised and said that I would be bored because there's little to do there. I was confident that there was more "to do" in Little Rock than there is in Washington Court House. I said, "I'd like to go to the museum at Central High School." He asked, incredulously, "What do you know about THAT?"  I responded, "Quite a lot;  that happened in 1957;  that was a big deal when I was a girl."  I told him about David Margolick's book.  He said he din't need to read a book because he "lived through it".

As he is a registered Republican, I was curious why he frequently stated that he disliked President Eisenhower. Interestingly, when pressed for examples, he could never give any substantive answers. As a Democrat, I must say that it galled me, but I would answer that I admired Eisenhower's dispatching the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock to integrate Central High School.

Seeing his reaction to my knowledge about Central High School, Orval Faubus, and Eisenhower's intervention, I exclaimed, "NOW I know why you dislike Eisenhower so much!" As a person who is covertly racist, he denied that Eisenhower's upholding the law was his reason for disliking him.

He told me that his younger brother attended Central High School during that period and that his brother had told him that the trouble "only lasted a week" . I laughed in disbelief, and I answered, "Your brother must not have been around because the account by the black kids is totally different; the abuse went on the entire time they were in school." He said, "That's not what my brother said." I said, "The book details the many abuses, among which was being scalded in the locker room." He said, "Well, my brother was THERE and you weren't!" I asked, "And who do you think I believe; him or the students who actually suffered the abuse?"

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


A Facebook friend posted the picture below, which had been taken at the Charlottesville White Supremacy Rally, and dubbed it THE FACE OF HATE.  I see no reason to tell his name or discuss what happened to him after the rally.

However, it reminded me of another famous photo (see below) of a fifteen-year-old girl named Hazel Bryan who was spewing racial epithets at Elizabeth Eckford, who was one of the nine children trying to enter school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957.

My friend Cammy used that photograph to illustrate the cover of her 1960 Senior Paper about the Civil Rights Struggle.  She used the title THE FACE OF HATE.

Sadly, today I think, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Monday, August 14, 2017


Yes, today is NATIONAL CREAMSICLE DAY and I'm here to admit to a life-long love of the delicious treat.

As if it weren't enough for me just to enjoy a Creamsicle--oh, no--I must also bake a Creamsicle Cake.  There are many variations, but below is a simple 3-ingredient version:

1 box of white cake mix
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup orange juice

Mix ingredients together.  Put in a greased
 8 x 8 pan.
Bake at 350 for 30-33 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Can be topped with a favorite frosting or garnished with powdered sugar, orange peel, or orange zest.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Several years ago, I attended the Fayette County Historical Society Civil War Program at the Fayette County Museum. The Ulysses S. Grant Homestead Association from Georgetown, OH, which maintains the boyhood home of Grant, provided the program which celebrated the life, history, and legacy of Lieutenant General Grant during the Civil War and as the eighteenth President of the United States. The displays regarding the daily lives of soldiers, weapons, and photographs of Grant were very interesting to me, and the performers, attired in their woolen Civil War-style uniforms on a hot summer day, were especially impressive.

Lieutenant General Ulysses Simpson Grant was performed by Michael Miller of Georgetown, OH. Grant, born in Galena, OH, moved to Georgetown, OH, when he was 11 months old and resided in Georgetown, OH, until he went to West Point. It was good to see someone of the correct physical stature playing Grant: during the Civil War, Grant was 5' 7" and weighed between 135-150 pounds. Mr. Miller's portrayal was a fitting homage to Grant and when Miller completed his speech, he said, "If there are any questions, I would be glad to answer."

I stood and asked, "Yes, General Grant, I have a question: would you comment on your General Orders Number 11?" Mr. Miller looked surprised and replied, "I'm sorry, I don't know about that; could you tell me what it is?" I said, "Yes, it's your Orders where you expelled the Jews from your war zone and you expelled them as a class because of smuggling."

It was actually exhilarating to hear the shocked intake of breath from members of the audience and the titters as people looked to see the questioner.  I continued, telling that Grant had been upset by rampant smuggling, but that he had unfairly singled out Jews to punish, when his own father Jesse Grant was also known to be smuggling during that time.  I said, "You might want to read the new book on the subject." He asked the title and I said, "When General Grant Expelled The Jews."  Someone close by, but within my earshot, said sarcastically, "Did she write it?" A school classmate of mine, Alice, said to the person, "Oh, Phyllis knows what she is talking about; you can be sure of that!" [Thank you, Alice.] My nephew Michael was with me and he whispered, "She had to go to school with you since she called you Phyllis."

Within half an hour, the moderator of the program came to the microphone and commented about General Orders 11 [It was great to know that someone actually cared enough to go quickly to Google, to check my assertion.]. When the moderator said that President Lincoln had "overruled" Grant, I said, "Actually, the President RESCINDED the orders."

After the program, I went to speak to Mr. Miller and I complimented his "grace under pressure". His "significant other", who sometimes portrays Julia Dent Grant in performance, said, "That's the first time in 15 years that he's ever been stumped!" Mr. Miller asked how I became an expert on Grant. I said, "Oh, I'm not, I'm much more interested in Sherman."

Several people approached me and they are members of the Historical Society; all said that I should join the Historical Society. I said, "I'm already a Lifetime Member!" I guess I should attend more meetings to enable them to know me.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


My Great-Great-Great-Grandfather George Givens (it was "Givinn" in Ireland) was born in 1743 in Ballygawley, County Tyrone, which is now in Northern Ireland. While in Ireland he married, lost that wife to death, and married another and by those two women had five sons. In 1794, George decided to emigrate to the New World. He was 51years old! One son died and was buried at sea; another died shortly before landing but they were allowed to wait to bury him on land. George's wife and another son died shortly after landing. He placed the two remaining sons with families in Pennsylvania. In 1798, he married Miss Nancy Morgan, aged 20--talk about a dirty old man--and with her and his son Robert, went to Massieville, OH, where they remained until 1807 when George secured a patent for a new tract of land located in what is now the eastern part of Pike County in Seal Township. He lived there until 1846 when he died at the age of 103. On his grave is a 4-feet marble tombstone with the inscription:



A Native of Ireland


SEPT. 29, 1846.


103' y'r of his


I don't know what the first "A" means. I have a tombstone rubbing of the tombstone hanging on the wall of my library.

George and Nancy Morgan Givens had eight children.

Their son James (1810-1878) married Frances Graham (1808-1887).

James and Frances' daughter Nancy Givens (1829-1910) married Angus Langum Parrill (1827-1887) on Christmas Day, 1848.

Nancy and Angus' daughter Margaret Nancy Parrill (1868-1956) married Sherman Tecumseh Shirkey (1866-1944) on August 14, 1895.

Margaret and Sherman's son Kenneth Velorus Shirkey (1902-1973) is my father.

Every generation of my family has had a girl named Nancy EXCEPT mine! My mother refused to name me that but I always said that if I had a daughter I would name her Nancy Morgan, in honor of that young woman who came to the wilds of Ohio and survived!

I have a copy of George Givens' Last Will and Testament which is on file in Pike County, OH.  It begins:

"I, George Givens of the County of Pike and State of Ohio, being weak in body but of sound and disposing mind and memory do make and publish my Last Will and Testament."

He was 101 when he made the will, and I love the part about being "weak in body, but of sound and disposing mind and memory", but what I find far more interesting is this section: "I give to my beloved wife Nancy all my household furniture, one cow and one riding horse and that she shall have her support and live with my son Thomas Givens during her natural life and be by him supported." In those days, women could not inherit and were no more than the property of a man! Even the household furniture belonged to George, not Nancy, and she was ordered to live with their son.

When I first read Walt Whitman's Pioneers! O Pioneers  in the 11th grade, I thought of Grandma Nancy and how brave she had to be.  Here are my favorite verses of the poem:

"For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
Pioneers! O pioneers!"

"All the past we leave behind,
We debouch upon a newer mightier world, varied world,
Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march,
Pioneers! O pioneers!"

"O you daughters of the West!
O you young and elder daughters! O you mothers and you wives!
Never must you be divided, in our ranks you move united,
Pioneers O pioneers!"

Friday, August 11, 2017


While working at Rockwell, we were having a new Gemcor Automatic Riveter installed. The hole for the riveter had to be 12 feet deep because of the force of the equipment. The digging could be done only on second shift because everything had to be cleaned on third shift for the first shift's operation. Each morning, nearly everyone in the department would go to look in the big hole to see the progress. One morning, Eddie, one of my operators, came to me and said excitedly, "You're going to have to call an exterminator;  there's a rat down in the hole!" Eddie's riveter was right beside the big hole.

I went over and looked in the hole and there was indeed a rat in the big hole. I said to Eddie, "I'm going to climb down in the hole and you hand me a mandrel." I was on the third step of the ladder and Eddie handed me a mandrel which weighed about thirty-five pounds. I tossed the mandrel toward the rat and it missed the rat by about two feet. I said, "Hand me that bottle of MEK." [MEK: methyl ethyl ketone, a cleaner which is poisonous to humans if ingested]. By that time I had quite an audience including the Union Committeeman who was yelling at me that it wasn't my job. I climbed further down the ladder and started squirting MEK in the rat's face.

The rat began squirming and dropped over. I jumped down on the ground and picked up the mandrel and crushed the rat with the mandrel. I yelled at Eddie, "Do you need this mandrel for today's orders?" He said that he didn't so I left the mandrel for the excavators to bring up out of the hole. When I climbed out of the hole, I received a round of applause from the audience, except for the Committeeman who told me that I should not have have been doing that "work" and that I should've called some Union employee. I told him we didn't have any in-house exterminators so it wasn't a Union job. I also told him, "Besides, I just saved the Company $150.00 and resolved a safety issue with Eddie." I turned to Eddie and I asked, "Right, Eddie?' Eddie said, "I can't believe you killed it;  I thought you were a nice lady."

I asked, "Eddie, what are you having for lunch?'  He answered, "A ham sandwich." I asked, "Do you think they killed the hog before they cured the ham?" I told him I grew up on a farm and I gave him a demonstration of how to kill chickens and then I told him I didn't mind killing anything except the rabbits because they cried. He gasped, "You mean you killed bunny rabbits?" I said, "Yes, and I enjoyed eating them too." After that, my nickname was RK.

 (You figured out it was Rat Killer, didn't you?.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Last night, I referenced "the three oldest lies in the world":

The old joke:

1. The check's in the mail.
2. I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.
3. I'll still respect you in the morning (oh, I cleaned it up for my readers' consumption; I've been known to tell the actual lie in private conversation).

The following are actual lies and excuses I have heard during my career and I am embarrassed to admit, I've actually uttered some of them myself:

4. We're family here (You're a part of the family).
5. It's in the Contract (Handbook).
6. John said, Sue said (he said, she said, they said).
7. It's only a cold sore.
8. I'm not that kind of girl.
9. It was OK when it left my area.
10. But that's the way we've always done it.
11. They're working on it (it's on order).
12. It can't be hot--I don't have them yet.
13. If you do this, I promise I won't ask you for anything else.
14. They told us that in Orientation.
15. This won't hurt anyone.
16. We're here to work as a team.
17. I 'll get back to you (I'll put it on my list, I'll make a note of it, I'll take
a look at it).
18. I don't usually do this on the first date.
19. We're an equal employment opportunity employer.
20. No, we're not hiring.
21. You'll be promoted on merit.
22. You'll be let go according to your evaluation.
23. I promise I won't tell anyone (I know how to keep a secret).
24. It'll never happen again.
25. I'll have the part there before the line goes down (The part will be there in
the morning).
26. A.O. Smith has a quality department.
27. We have a just-in-time system (just-in-case).
28. I don't have any extra people.
29. I'm not the regular crew chief.
30. It's not in the specs.
31. It's an ongoing process.
32. It's not on my breakdown (it's not my job, I'm not paid to do that).
33. The warehouse is only a half-hour away.
34. It's logged in (it's in the Macro).
35. I'm just a temp.
36. Yes, these are safety glasses.
37. It didn't get this way overnight--it's not going to change overnight.
38. Figures don't lie (but liars can figure).
39. We'll do lunch.
40. Don't call me--I'll call you.
41. I'll see you after this appointment.
42. You're looking good.
43. He's the same as all the other customers.
44. It's not good--but what will they take?
45. My Grandmother died (5 or 6 times).
46. I was absent because of jet lag.
47. I thought that you were going to take care of it.
48. I love him like a brother.
49. It's worked for twenty years--let's leave it alone.
50. I just got here (I've only been here 5 minutes)
51. I'm late--because of: car trouble  (alarm clock, traffic ticket, my wife didn't
wake me up).




53. I'll pencil you in to my Blackberry.
54. You're not in the system.
55. It's at the Lab.
56. Will advise.
57. It was a scanning error.
58. I didn't get your message (e-mail, test).

No doubt I'll have SIXTY by the end of this year!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


I asked Gerald, "Have you ever heard of a dumber name for a car than JUKE?"

He said, "No, I think that sounds very millennial."

"I answered, "Hunh?  JUKEBOX and JUKE JOINT;  those are rather old-fashioned."

Challenged to name other, ridiculous names for cars, we agreed with this list:

LETTUCE by Mitsubishi
LE CAR by Renault
THAT'S by Honda
P'UP by Isuzu
DELIBOY by Toyota
SCRUM by Mazda
THING by Volkswagen

I commented, "Hmmm, they are all foreign;  perhaps it's a language problem."

Les said, "How about GREMLIN?  that's AMC!"

Later, Les chimed in, "How about the sports term juke and juking?"  I asked, "You're kidding, right?"

He said, "No, it's quite a common term for deceptive plays and tricky maneuvering."

Of course, right to the dictionary for me.  "Juke" is derived from the Gullah dialect (jook, juke, or jouk) ) which translated means "deceptive", "disorderly", or "wicked". 

JUKE JOINT:  a roadside cafe or bar which featured drinking, eating, music, dancing, and sometimes prostitution.

JUKE BOX: Because live music was expensive, bringing in phonographs and records to the "juke joints" became popular, and eventually, coin-operated machines replaced the phonographs.

JUKING:  To outmaneuver by a feint or other deceptive movement;  to make a move intended to deceive. 

JUKE DANCING:  A suggestive dance where, usually, a female's butt is moved against a male's crotch (called "Chicago Juking").


Tuesday, August 8, 2017


I've written previously about August 8 being NATIONAL SNEAK SOME ZUCCHINI INTO YOUR NEIGHBOR'S PORCH DAY, an amusing suggestion of how to get rid of excess zucchinis.

Because of the generosity of family and friends, I have long been the fortunate recipient of zucchinis.  I have made zucchini bread, zucchini boats, zucchini rings, zucchini appetizers, fried zucchini, stewed zucchini, but the piece de resistance is THE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE which I have been making for several years.


                    CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup soft unsalted butter 
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
3 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Apply cooking spray to a 10-inch Bundt cake pan.
Drain zucchini.  Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Set aside.  Mix butter and sugars together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.  Alternately stir in dry mixture and milk into zucchini mixture, with nuts as the last addition.  Pour batter into pan and level top of batter with a spatula.  Bake 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan 15 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire rack;  cool completely.  Set on cake stand and drizzle with glaze.


2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix together and drizzle over cake

Monday, August 7, 2017


I was challenged to post "A WORD OF THE DAY" on my Facebook page to describe the current Liar-In-In-Chief. 

I have used the following: 

CULLION                    MALEVOLENT                 
POLTROON                VITRIOLIC            
CAITIFF                      TETCHY         

None are reprehensible enough.  I would appreciate additions to my list.

Sunday, August 6, 2017


I seldom write about politics on Sue's News, saving that for Facebook.  I was happy that the New York Times is finally using the word "lies" to describe statements made by the current resident of the White House.

I was also glad that The Times also printed the actual words of Anthony Scaramucci he used in the interview with Chris Cilizza, rather than letters followed by the silly ***, as other publications did.  I don't use that kind of language and don't want to hear the words used, but it still important that we know the actual words used.

When I receive Facebook messages that are lies I now simply delete them.  In the past I would answer all of them, providing proof of the lack of veracity.  I asked the people who forwarded the loathsome messages to have enough character
and courage to send the proof to all of the other people to whom they had forwarded the lies.  What did I think was the possibility of that happening? Not one of these people ever wrote to me to apologize for their lies.

A friend told me that I should use nicer words instead of confronting them as liars.  I answered that I didn't believe in euphemisms and if people had such disrespect to forward such trash, they should have the word "lie" capitalized and not use the tame term "falsehood";   not only are they lies, they are goddamned lies.

I oftentimes wonder how I can actually know mendacious people like this who could forward such invective without verifying the source. Are they so desperate to believe what they want to believe that they will sacrifice their morals and send the detestable lies?

Why do people continue to fabricate, falsify, and forward lies about President Obama and his family? Why don't they recognize the evil they are transmitting? What reason could there possibly be for people to resort to such calumny? Hmmmm?  I think I know. These bigots wrap themselves in the flag and tell their lies because they are too cowardly to admit that their fury is really because the President's mother was white and his father was black. I can respect people with differing views about the President's policies. In fact, I have disagreed with the President. I have no respect for people who forward lies about him.

I laugh out loud at those who grandly proclaim their reason is about the deficit or other policies, while hiding behind their cloak of prejudice. I always asked them, "Why didn't you send me stuff attacking his predecessor when he was creating all those problems?"  I never had to resort to the tactics of those ignoble people.

Their vituperation cannot be because of the President's policies because he spent all of his time cleaning up the mess that was left to him.

As much as I dislike the current White House occupant, I have never forwarded any lies about him. Just telling the truth about him is damning enough.

Saturday, August 5, 2017


"I'm half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shalott."

As a teenager, I loved Tennyson's The Lady Of Shalott, and all things Arthuriana.

The Lady lived in an island castle which flowed into Camelot.  She had a mysterious curse and she had to continually weave on her loom.  As she looked into her mirror, she realized that the "shadows of the world" were a sad substitution for looking at the "real world", which certainly resonated with me.  When she saw Lancelot, she stopped weaving, looked out the window at Camelot, causing the curse.  She left the tower and floated down the river to Camelot;  she died before reaching Camelot.  Lancelot thought her to be lovely.

I learned to face my own shadows.

Friday, August 4, 2017


Mark Twain:  "When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what angels eat."  I quote this at least a dozen times a year, while feasting on the mellifluous gift of nature.

I have written before that August 3 is NATIONAL WATERMELON DAY, about how to select a watermelon, and the health benefits of watermelon.   

What else can I say about this perfect food?  Nothing.  I'm just going to enjoy another slice!

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Last night, Gerald said that we had a bat in the belfry.  When I asked the location of our belfry he said our bedroom.  I accompanied him upstairs and there was indeed a bat flying around in the bedroom.  Gerald began throwing a sheet around, trying to trap the critter, but the bat flew into the hallway, then in and out of the hallway, bathroom, and other bedroom.  I said, "Close the doors!"  After closing off all possible doors, we were able to get the bat from the upstairs hallway downstairs where it began flying around in the living room, dining room, and library areas. We opened the two exterior living room doors.  The poor creature kept flying around, with us ducking, weaving, and trying to direct him to the open doors.  Soon, we could no longer see the bat, and we thought the bat had flown outside.

Much later, Gerald shouted, "He's still here!"  I said, "Hell, if he's moved in, we might as well name him."  Gerald said, "Bruce."  I said, "I thought Boris would be nice."  He asked, "Why Boris?"  I said, "After Boris Karloff." and I immediately realized that I'd actually meant "Bela", after Lugosi!  I asked, "Why Bruce?"  Gerald asked, incredulously, "Bruce WAYNE?"  I screaked, "BATMAN!"  

Gerald called Pest Control and they stated they do not take care of bats and suggested Gerald call the Extension Service.  I said, "Let's look on the internet.", and I typed in "HOW TO CATCH A BAT IN THE HOUSE".

Once again, we could no longer could see the bat and we thought it must have flown out one of the open doors.

This morning Gerald said, "He's still here.", and pointed to a corner in the living room where the bat was hanging.  I said, "Awww, Bruce is asleep!"  Gerald and Les stapled sheets to the doorways between the living room and the dining room, the library and also the stairway to isolate the bat.  

Gerald was very ingenious and located an old badminton set;  he attached the net to two hot dog skewers we had left over from a bonfire. (Sometimes it's good to be semi-hoarders!) He trapped the bat in the netting and took it outside. 

We are now trying to figure out how Bruce got in the house.  The information I gleaned from the internet warned that if there is ONE bat in the house, there's probably a colony present somewhere.  I also learned from that babies are usually born in AUGUST!  (Oh, this IS going to make us BATS*** CRAZY!)

We will be keeping the upstairs doors closed, trying to isolate the location of any possible future intruders.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Years ago, I enjoyed Jeannette Walls' memoir The Glass Castle, where she recounted her life growing up with three siblings in a dysfunctional family with a brilliant, alcoholic father who dreamed of building a glass castle.  While home-schooling his children, teaching them geology and physics, their artistic mother taught them reading but had no maternal instinct or interest in rearing a family.  A very selfish person, a hoarder who was probably bi-polar, she categorized the children as Lori being the smart one, Maureen the pretty one, Brian the brave one, and Jeannette the hard worker.  

While enduring extreme poverty and an abnormal home life Jeannette was molested but was able to escape the environment at age 17, leaving West Virginia to join her older sister Lori in New York.  She began working and with scholarships, grants, and loans, she completed Barnard College and become a writer in the sophisticated world of New York magazine publishing, working at New York Magazine, living on Park Avenue, all the while always hiding her background, until one day she saw her parents in New York living as homeless people.  Despite their disadvantaged life, all the siblings moved to New York where her older sister worked in a law office to support herself as an artist, her brother became a policeman, but unfortunately, her younger sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia. 

I am looking forward to seeing the soon-to-be-released movie starring Naomi Watts as her mother Rose Mary, Woody Harrelson as her father Rex, and Brie Larson as the adult Jeannette.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Gerald will have his yearly physical this week and he decided a month ago that he could lose ten pounds just by cutting out snacks.  We usually have a dessert with our dinners, sometimes the desserts being healthful items such as strawberries, melons, and low-calorie sherbets. However, sometimes, we have some high-calorie items.  This week Les made an Oreo No Bake Dessert and it was delicious and irresistible.

Gerald had received a RESIST bumper sticker from one of the organizations to which we contribute. Gerald put the RESIST bumper sticker on the half-consumed pan of dessert.

Les, a Star Trek fan, suggested that I place a sign from The Borg: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE, for Gerald, a fellow Star Trek fan, to see:

Monday, July 31, 2017


Today is NATIONAL AVOCADO DAY.  I relish avocados and enjoy them in guacamole and especially on top of ceviche.  At our favorite local Mexican restaurant, ceviche is served that way, except one time it came without the avocado, and I asked the waiter for the avocado and he said that they had run out;  I said that I did not want the ceviche without it.  Other people from my "Wild Lunch Bunch" thought I was being unreasonable.

I visited their other restaurant in another city and ordered ceviche and it arrived without the sliced avocado.  I asked for avocado and the waiter said that it didn't come with avocado and showed the menu to me.  I asked for the Manager and he recognized me from being a patron of the restaurant in Washington C.H. and he immediately instructed the waiter to bring avocado.  When I saw him again at the Washington C.H. location, he asked if I'd been causing trouble lately.  I said, "I always demand my avocados!"

Avocados target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female; they resemble these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it helps to balance hormones, helps to shed unwanted birth weight, and helps to prevent cervical cancer.

And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each avocado.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


My friend told me, "You need a fourteen-year-old grandson." Whenever I have computer issues.

Now, whenever I am having computer problems, I call my friend Char's grandson Cory to help with the problem.  He came one time and it took him 5 minutes to fix a problem.  I was having problems recently and it was after 10:00 at night.  I didn't think it was appropriate to call Cory as I know he works during the day. Instead, I  called his mother Dai who is computer savvy.  I knew that she stayed up late as we have had conversations late at night.  As I was trying to understand her instructions she said, "I'll just come over there."  Within moments, she arrived but she also had the dilemma and she said she would just call Cory.  I asked, "Won't he be in bed?"  She said, "Nah, he'll be up."  After a circuitous route of getting to Cory including calling, texting, FB messaging him and his fiancee, and  finally his grandmother going to the house, he was found wearing headphones and not hearing the phone. When he called, I had to allow him to see my computer and he had the problem fixed within minutes. Thanks to Cory, Dai, and Char, my late-night saviors for their above and beyond service and friendship!

Everyone will find it amusing that I was the "go-to" person when we first began using computers at work. My fellow-management people--all men--were very resistant to the change.

The men could not stand the "techies"--our company's computer guys--because they were, to a man, condescending, patronizing, and supercilious. As the "techies" were also young, their haughty attitudes did not sit well with men old enough to be their fathers.

When the "techies" came to instruct or fix problems, I actually listened, documented, and was able to apply those lessons. Other management people would call me to ask, "What program do we use for...?" "How do I get in to...?" It wasn't that I knew about computers, but only that I remembered and applied the information which I needed for work.

When I saw Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live portray Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy I laughed at how accurate it was and when Nick Burns yelled "Move!" in exasperation of the ignorance of the people, I yelled, "Eric, help!", because Eric was the most arrogant of all the "techies" I dealt with at work.

Even after I retired, guys would call to ask questions and I would answer, "Look in the black notebook I left in my desk, or call Eric!"

Saturday, July 29, 2017


My brother Duke knows all the words of Big Boots from Elvis' movie G. I. Blues.  I am teary-eyed whenever I hear either sing it.

I have some big boots to fill.  Some family reflections on footwear and other bits of trivia:

My brother Bode had a good line: "Do you know what they say about a guy with big hands and big feet?"
"He also has big gloves and big shoes!"  I always use this quip when I hear the recent musings about the meaning of the size of a certain politician's hands.

My brother Norman worked with a guy who always wore shoes which were too big for his feet and the shoes turned up on the ends, making them look like shoes for elves. One day Norman told him, "Just so you know, there's no truth to that rumor you've heard!"

From my brother Les: "Don't criticize a man until you walk a mile in his shoes; that way you can be a mile away from him and you've also got his shoes!"

When my brother Kenny came home after completing his duty at Lackland Air Force Base, he was wearing a pair of cowboy boots with metal tips on the toes;  he called them "Shit-kickin' roach killers".

"If the shoe fits--buy it!"--Imelda Marcos

What kind of shoes do frogs wear?  Open-TOAD!

Lee Hazlewood wrote Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Are Made For Walkin';  I was surprised at the spelling of his surname.

I was pleased to learn that Kinky Boots was based on a true story.

My friend Mona Lisa refers to the current resident of the White House as Puss In Boots; when I asked the reason, she said, "The moral of that story is about the benefits of lying, trickery, and wealth."

When we had our "Barbara Stanwyck Film Festival", where we viewed--and reviewed-- all of Stanwyck's movies, we were dreading watching The Bride Wore Boots, simply because of the title and not wanting our shining star to be tarnished, we were thrilled to be able to appreciate her last comedy.

Also in that movie was Diana Lynn;  I have also watched all of Diana Lynn's movies, simply because I was ALMOST named for her.  After having five boys, my mother assumed the sixth would also be a boy.  She had told my oldest brother Bode that he could name the baby if it were a girl.  Diana Lynn was a cute ingenue on whom he had a crush.  Fortunately for me, Mother declined to give the name to me.

Whenever I have met women of my generation named Diana, I always ask their middle name, and every one was a "Lynn" also!

In They Died With Their Boots On, Errol Flynn could ALMOST make me like Custer!

Das Boot, an epic war movie, had an especially moving scene when they sang It's A Long Way To Tipperary.  

"Das Boot" is also the name for a large, German beer-drinking vessel.

Friday, July 28, 2017


For Christmas Gerald gave me an Elvis desk calendar. Each day there is a different, gorgeous picture of Elvis to greet me. Sometimes the pages will have bits of trivia. On April 10, the caption read:

"Q: Technically, Elvis' first radio broadcast came at 10 years old, singing in a youth talent show. What song did he perform?"

"A: Old Shep."

The song always brings a lump to my throat.  My first memory of hearing Old Shep was listening to my father's recording by Red Foley, who was also the composer of the song..  Our friend Carl Wilt would perform it oftentimes at our get-togethers at The Fish And Game Lodge.

Yesterday, while shopping at Aldi's, I noticed that dog food items are named "SHEP";  naturally (for me, at least), I began singing Old Shep, in a low voice, using Elvis' arrangement.  Listen below:

A woman, bagging her groceries, asked, "What were you singing?" When I told her the song was Old Shep, she told me that her father used to sing it and he was a local musician. When I asked his name she said, "Ralph Streitenberger." and I asked, "So, you are Red and Vanilla's daughter?" She was delighted that I knew her parents and I told her my maiden name, that my family was from Bloomingburg, that her father was a classmate of my oldest brother, that her father was my youngest brother's barber, that he had come to the funerals of my brothers and my parents, and that I had enjoyed hearing her father perform numerous times, and that he had sung Old Shep at the Fish And Game Lodge.   As I shared several other fond memories about her father, she said that it was wonderful to hear how well he was remembered.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


My friend Billie Bower is an avid Elvis fan and she shared her special memory blog item with me:

                                                           ELVIS MEMORY SHARED
I was traveling with my parents in February 1956 through Tennessee on our way to Florida. The radio was playing when a local DJ introduced a new record called Heartbreak Hotel by a local singer. I was in the back seat of the car with a girlfriend and when we heard the first notes of the song, we both looked at each other incredulously....such a different sound. I had my dad pull off the road and wait to hear what the artist's name was so that I could write it down. When he said "Elvis Presley", I wondered how to spell such an unusual name. Two weeks later, when we returned to Columbus, Ohio, I went to several record shops to find the record and was told that they didn't have it and had never heard of someone by the name of Elvis Presley. Needless to say, it wasn't long until everybody had heard of I felt I had discovered him in my own way. I was 17 and he was 20 and I was hooked forever with his talent, his charm, his charisma.

I was fortunate enough to be able to see him in person when he came to Columbus, Ohio, in the spring of 1956 at Veterans Memorial. I was not a screaming sort of fan...more of a bookworm/quiet type of when all the girls were screaming, I was irritated because I couldn't hear him. BUT when he was getting ready to close his performance, he lowered the stand-type microphone between his legs and held out his arm pointing to the audience and saying..."If you can't come back to see me when I come to town the next time, 'You Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dog'!" followed by the song which had not been released yet. So the bookworm/quiet fan actually swooned in my seat!

I remember always buying his records at a local Kresge's store every chance I could. I got married in 1957 and my first baby arrived in 1958, and my first Mother's Day gift was Elvis' 2nd album. Always a fan but never able to afford going to his concerts with a young family, I still had my records. I eventually had 4 children (2 girls and 2 boys) and when I had my first son on January 8, 1965, I was unaware at the time that it was Elvis' birthday. So Bobby always had to share his birthday with Elvis and the anthologies I would always listen to. After he graduated from OSU and had to leave for ROTC military duty, I danced with my son in the kitchen to Elvis singing I Can't Help Falling In Love With You,  a very special memory.

I always got teased by my family and friends and co-workers about my love for Elvis, but it didn't bother me. When I only had 2 children in 1963, I had made plans to go to Graceland to finally see his home but alas, my daughters both came down with chicken pox and the trip was cancelled. I remember finally being able to buy 5 tickets to see Elvis to share him with my family in 1974, at University of Dayton. Our tickets were so bad that you could hardly see him, but my family didn't watch him....they were watching me!

I never joined his fan club or collected teddy bears, lipstick, etc., but eventually got hooked on his bubble gum cards, Christmas ornaments, velvet paintings, beach towels, t-shirts, in addition to many special books and album collections. Then on June 25, 1977, I was able to get 4 tickets in the 16th row at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati to see him perform. I was so excited, but my husband was at summer camp in Michigan, my children were at band camp or unavailable, so I called my girlfriend that had been with me in 1956 when we heard him for the first time on the trip to Florida. She and her daughter were available and so I recruited my mother to go too. She said she didn't want to go as she was not an Elvis fan, but I convinced her I needed her company. So the 4 of us were off to Cincinnati for a wonderful concert. He wore his sunburst outfit and I remember that he played the piano to Unchained Melody and complained about having novocaine from a dental appointment and couldn't curl his upper lip. Again, I was the quiet and shy fan who would not go up to get his scarf (I regret to say), but I did buy a rolled-up picture of him for $5 to take home to my dad. I felt bad that we left Daddy alone as it was his 63rd birthday! So 6 weeks later when I was driving home from work (North American Rockwell), I heard on my car radio that Elvis had died. I didn't think I would be able to drive home as I was so distraught. But I remembered when I gave Dad the rolled up picture of Elvis, he said, "Now what am I supposed to do with that?" I called my Dad and said you can frame it and give it back to me. So when I went to my parents home in December of 1977, I was alone in their house when I went to turn on the lamp in the living room only to find the framed picture of Elvis looking at me and almost had a heart attack. It was so life-like! I was asked by where are you going to hang that picture? Well, it was so big and heavy, it needed to definitely be on a appropriate...a stud on a stud! I hung it in the entryway of our home for several years, but now that we live in a small condo, it is behind the door to our computer room and when the door is closed and I'm on the computer, he is there looking at me.

I still had not gotten to Graceland. Again, we planned a trip in 1982...packed and ready to leave when we received a phone call that my husband's mother had passed away in Michigan. But finally in 1988, we did an unplanned visit to Graceland. We went to Florida to visit our son, Bob Jr. and while I was reading the map on our way back to Ohio, I noticed we were near a route that went to Tupelo, MS, and asked my husband could we take a little detour home?  I'll never forget the highway leading to Tupelo...I nicknamed it the Honeysuckle wild honeysuckle were blooming along the roadside all the way. When we arrived at his birthplace and home, it was closed, but I was able to sit in the swing on the front porch, look in the windows, and reflect. We stayed overnight in Memphis and at long last, I was able to see Graceland. I'm still hoping to go back again as more is open to the public now.

After his passing, I couldn't listen to his hurt too much. And several months later, trying to explain my feelings to my children, I thought I was ready to listen to some of his more upbeat songs like Poke Salad Annie and Trouble. Wrong! My favorite upbeat song is Trouble and when I played it, I realized I still wasn't ready as the tears flowed. It was from King Creole, one of his better movies. I did enjoy his movies, if for no other reason than watching him perform and the music videos of today. But I did want him to have the opportunity to star with Barbara Streisand in A Star Is Born" as he so wanted to be a serious actor.

And last but not least, Sue, is my memory of you doing your Elvis impersonation! It was so great to have a friend with the same excitement for Elvis that I felt. I remember you were the one I wanted to share my Elvis rose with so when I ordered one for me, I ordered one for you. Now they are not available.

I have wonderful memories of Elvis and will always enjoy listening to his music. When I leave this world, he will be singing How Great Thou Art for me.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


This Sue's News article was published in 2013:


As I was decorating for Christmas, I was rearranging books in the library to make room for my "Elvis Shrine". Tucked inside my Latin II book, I found something I'd written when I was 15 years old. It was a rough draft for a contest I had entered. Obviously I worked on other interests while I was supposed to be doing schoolwork.

As a teenager, I listened to a local radio program and there would be contests with one of those "Be the third caller, have the answer, and you'll win the prize." gambits.

I hadn't been able to win any of those, but several times, when one had to write about a topic, and not be just the third caller, I won several times. The prizes were always the same: 2 tickets for a movie at the Fayette Theater.

Elvis' fourth movie King Creole had been released and several of my classmates had gone to Columbus to see it. Imagine--being able to go to the big city--to the Lowe's Theater to see THE KING.  Full of envy, I listened to every word as they described the movie. We--the less fortunate--would have to wait for what seemed like forever for the movie to be shown in Washington Court House, and even then, I wondered how could I get the money--or a way--to go? Previously, my brother Gary and his wife had lived in town and I would go there and stay overnight and my sister-in-law and I would go to see the movies with the tickets I had won. By the time King Creole was released they'd already moved to the country.

The contest to win tickets for King Creole was announced and the contest required that one write a letter entitled "Dear Elvis" using the titles of Elvis' songs in the text. I won the contest and my submission was read on the air and afterwards I was teased mercilessly by my brothers and classmates about my silliness. My cousin's wife took me to see the movie and she bought the popcorn and drinks.

All these years later, as I was looking at the rough draft for a contest, I noticed that I had the songs numbered; I didn't recall all the contest rules but it must have required a certain number of songs or number of words to be used. I cringed at what my 15-year-old self had written, but I showed it to my brother. He is usually caustic and sarcastic but he said, sincerely, "Aww, it's sweet; I never knew you were sweet." I answered, "I think it shows what a naif  I was." He said, "It was probably every girl's fantasy to think she was Elvis' girlfriend." I am nine years older than my brother, and although he knows me better than nearly anyone else, of course he did not remember that naive 15-year-old as he was only 6 at the time. He said, "You were so competitive that you had to be the one who knew every damn song; so you haven't changed THAT much; paragraph five is pretty good."

The following was written by my 15-year-old self--it's even signed "Phyllis"--as I was known in school (Elvis' songs are capitalized):

Dear Elvis:

In my imagination, I have YOUNG DREAMS that TOMORROW NIGHT you can put on your BLUE SUEDE SHOES and I can take the MYSTERY TRAIN down to NEW ORLEANS and we can go to the KING CREOLE night club, where we can have a HOT DOG, some TUTTI FRUTTI, and CRAWFISH to eat, so LET'S HAVE A PARTY with MAYBELLINE, DANNY, and LONG TALL SALLY.

HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY if I had ONE NIGHT with you, I would be ALL SHOOK UP, but JUST BECAUSE I gave you a TEDDY BEAR, it doesn't mean I am ALMOST IN LOVE. There might be some TROUBLE because YOU'RE A HEARTBREAKER, but THAT'S ALL RIGHT because I'm PLAYING FOR KEEPS.



If you're worried about being a POOR BOY, I don't need any MONEY HONEY, I just want TRUE LOVE! You know, IT'S BEEN SO LONG, DARLING; this seems like a ONE-SIDED LOVE AFFAIR unless you LOVE ME TENDER. If you said WON'T YOU WEAR MY RING AROUND YOUR NECK, that's when MY WISH CAME TRUE. I said THAT'S ALL RIGHT because I WANT YOU, I NEED YOU, I LOVE YOU!

This might be TOO MUCH, but THIS TIME I'll be THE FIRST IN LINE, but DON'T have a HEART OF STONE because you are the KEEPER OF THE KEY and I'M COUNTING ON YOU.





ALWAYS your biggest fan,


Listen to Young Dreams from King Creole:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


My friend Judy and I are celebrating our birthdays this year by going to Graceland.  I have been to Elvis' home previously but she has never gone.  Below is a Sue's News article I published in 2010:

                      U. S. 53310761

As a teeny-bopper, I was the world's most devoted Elvis Presley fan. When I was thirteen, I even went to the beautician Evelyn Evans to have my hair cut like Elvis'. My bedroom was completely covered with Elvis Presley pictures. Every time a new song was released, several of us Elvis fans would listen to the record over and over to be able to write down the lyrics to be able to sing along. My greatest artistic achievement was to sing along and gyrate as Elvis did when he sang Trouble from the movie King Creole. As the years passed, I would always watch his god-awful movies and buy whatever records were released, and I never lost the love for him, but by the sixties I was "into" folk, protest music, and jazz and although I went to see him in concert in 1973, my passion had subsided. I attributed it to "growing up". In 1973, we went to Graceland and stood outside the gates and took pictures of the gates, but this was before his death and the tours; after the tours started we went to Memphis to see inside Graceland. I was disturbed because his grave marker has "Elvis Aaron Presley" and I know that's wrong because it's really Elvis Aron Presley as the Aron rhymes with the middle name of his twin Jesse Garon Presley. I bought the commemorative stamps and sent out "first day cancellations" on January 8 to my fellow Elvis fans.

Several years after Elvis' death, my brother called me on January 8 and said, "Hey, they're having an Elvis trivia contest and you should call in and win." I tuned in and one had to be the 3rd caller; the questions were very easy but I couldn't get through to answer. Then a question came which nobody called to answer. I dialed the number and answered the question, "What was Elvis' serial number in the Army?" I answered, "U.S. 53310761." The DJ asked, "How on earth did you know that?" I told him that after Elvis was drafted, there was a girl group--The Thirteens--that had a song entitled Dear 53310761 (which I have the record!), and then I proceeded to sing the song. I also told the DJ  that there were at least 25 songs recorded ABOUT Elvis. I also told him that it was "U.S." rather than "R.A." because "U.S." is used for draftees and "R.A." is used for enlisted people. I think that was entirely TMI as he then told me about my prize and shut me down.

What did I win? ALL of Elvis' records! Of course, I already had all of Elvis' records. I gave them as a present to my brother who is also an Elvis fan.

Now I have an "Elvis shrine" at Christmas time as I have a tree full of Elvis ornaments which I surround with Elvis collectibles. This past Christmas my friend Arminta gave me an Elvis Christmas stocking which is shaped like Elvis' white satin jumpsuit pant leg and boot. It has a button when pushed plays Blue Christmas.  I send Elvis Christmas cards to all of my friends who are also Elvis devotees. I'm just sad that I never met him.

Monday, July 24, 2017


When I was a child, my mother made delicious drop dumplings in leftover soups and stews. She called them "puffy dumplings" but when my oldest brother was little, he thought that she said "puppy dumplings" so it's always been a family saying to call them "puppy dumplings".

As a young bride, I learned that my husband liked his mother's drop dumplings. Naturally, wanting to please him, I decided to make drop dumplings. I had never made drop dumplings before and I called to ask my mother for the recipe and that evening I prepared the dumplings. However, I mistakenly put a tablespoon of batter instead of a teaspoon in the broth and the result was enormous drop dumplings. When I told my husband that we were having "puppy dumplings" for dinner, he took one look at them and said, "Those look more like Saint Bernard dumplings!"

Sunday, July 23, 2017


A friend asked, "Don't you think it's terrible that the schools want to do away with cursive?"

I answered, "No, I think teaching writing is a waste of time; we are in a computer age; all a person should have to learn is to write his name--to have a signature."

I said that I print nearly everything by hand clearly. She said printing is too slow. I took out paper and pen and told her to copy something from a book and I would print the same thing at the same time. My printing was much faster than her writing. She protested, "But I can't print fast." I said, "That's because you haven't done it."

She said, "But handwriting is important in lots of things."

I said, "I think handwriting is only important with CALLIGRAPHY and SIGNATURES!"

She said, "But people with an artistic bent need to learn cursive."

I said, "Then it should be an elective for those artistes!"

We had a lengthy discussion. I teased her, "It's because YOU have pretty handwriting!" She said, "But you have pretty handwriting also!" I answered, "Just think about people who don't have whatever right brain/left brain function allows us to have that knack. You do know it's a knack, don't you?", I asked.

I said, "I know greatly intelligent people who have illegible handwriting." I told her about a guy who'd gone to school at Bloomingburg for twelve years. He practiced and practiced because he wanted straight A's, but try as he might the best he could achieve were C's in penmanship. There were probably less than 20 in his graduating class, and he was undoubtedly the smartest one in his class, yet, from that tiny, rural school, he went to Harvard University and became a professor and is a noted economist. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017


I love Fair Food!

Yes, give me the roasted corn, Bloomin' Onions, funnel cakes, elephant ears, Polish Sausage sandwiches, fare at St. Colman's, Pork Producers, and Cattlemen's Association, but this year I have fallen in love with POTATO ON A STICK! I ate something similar last year, with the potato deep fried like French fries, curled and served on a plate, but this year the potatoes are served on a skewer. The concessionaire drills a hole through the potato and puts it on a stick and fries it.

The girls in the picture, Elizabeth and Brittany, were walking through the building where our booth is located, showing the potato on a stick, trying to create business, and I asked them to bring one back to me, which they promptly did.

Elizabeth returned and said that she had been reported by another vendor for soliciting business which is against the rules of the Fair. What an assault on their entrepreneurial spirit!

The girls are from North Carolina, moved to Zanesville, where Elizabeth's mother and step-father started the concession business, working at county fairs.

Good luck to them!

Friday, July 21, 2017


After reading about malaphors, I was reminded of several examples of what I termed spoonerisms, but I could have assigned the term "malaphor" to some of them.

See my Sue's News article written in 2011 titled SPOONERISMS:

SPOONERISM:  an error in speech in which corresponding consonants, vowels or morphemes are switched (see metathesis).  The condition was named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner, a British cleric, scholar and professor. Though these examples might be apocryphal, he was attributed to have uttered:  "a blushing crow" (for "a crushing blow"), "you've tasted two worms" (for "you've wasted two terms"); and when giving a toast to "our queer old dean" (for "our dear old Queen").

When Steve Forbes was running for President, he said, "The stack is decked."  when he meant to say "The deck is stacked."

My friend Patty's husband Chuck has some classic ones:

"Wibel and Orbel White" for Wilbur and Orville Wright
"Fee fries" for French fries
"Sank Franatra" for Frank Sinatra

My sister-in-law Kay was also known for her Spoonerisms. My brother Bode was always cute with his answers and had a large collection of retorts if the answer to a question was an obvious "Yes". He would invariably answer, "Is the Pope Catholic?" or "Was Attila The Hun naughty?" or "Does the bear shit in the woods?"

One day Kay, thinking she could also be cute, answered, "Does the Pope poop on the pulpit?"

Another time Bode asked Kay to call the hardware store to see if they had the size of "steel drill bits" he needed. Kay asked them if they had "Strill dill bites"!